Tag Archives: Fine Dining

Sepia Restaurant Cover

Sepia Restaurant | Sydney CBD

March 3rd, 2017 was not a great day for Sydney foodies. On this day Sepia Restaurant, considered one of Australia’s finest dining venues, announced it is moving to Melbourne. While it has been common knowledge for over a year that the humble – but immensely talented – Martin Benn and FoH Vicki Wild intend to take the restaurant in a new direction once its Sussex St lease expires, the announcement that the institution would move to Melbourne was a pure shock to the system. Good news Melbourne, bad news Sydney. With this, my fifth visit may well be my last as it exists now. Here’s to a farewell for an influential fine dining giant in Sydney.

Melbournians, read on to get a taste of the skill that’s about to hit your city. You lucky ducks.

(more…)

Brae Cover

Brae Restaurant | Birregurra, Australia

When I first wrote about Birregurra’s Brae Restaurant in 2015, the way I introduced Dan Hunter – the immense talent behind it all – was through observing the fact that he honed his skills at, among other places, the famed Mugaritz in the Basque Country.

In 2017, that introduction is no longer necessary. With its ascension to #44 on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, Brae has definitively cemented itself a position as one of of Australia’s best restaurants. This is world-class cooking in a town of less than 700 people folks. It’s something special.

(more…)

Minamishima Cover

Minamishima | Richmond, Melbourne

Stepping through the ostensibly ho-hum glass doors that guard the entrance to Minamishima, you could be forgiven for holding an incredulous attitude at claims that this is Melbourne’s best sushi restaurant and indeed, rivals even the best Sydney has to offer.

Of course, despite the back-street entrance to what appears more to be an innocuous block of apartments than a restaurant, you wouldn’t turn back now. Be glad you didn’t, because Minamishima is everything they say it is, and quite possibly a bit more.

Say hi to my favourite sushi restaurant in Australia!

Date Last Visited: 21/1/2017 (4 visits to date)
Address: 4 Lord St, Richmond VIC 3121
Highlight courses: aburi flounder, ootoro nigiri, anago nigiri, sakura ice cream & adzuki yokan

(more…)

Kaiseki Kichisen

Omakase at Kaiseki Kichisen 京懐石吉泉 | Kyoto, Japan

When I asked for the menu describing the meal I had just finished at Kichisen, head chef Yoshimi Tanigawa politely chortled – “it’s all up here” he said, as he gently tapped his head with a single finger. A profound demonstration of Kaiseki’s core tenet, where dishes ebb and flow with the seasons, never settling, was the key message I took from this. Welcome to Kichisen – an apogee of Kaiseki and Japanese food in Kyoto.

Date Last Visited: 26/3/2016
Address: link
Highlight Dish: grilled Kyoto wagyu beef 

Price Guide (approx): 13,000-31,000 JPY
Further Info: Tabelog

(more…)

bouche-on-bridge-cover

Bouche on Bridge | Sydney CBD

“Fine dining, without the pretension” – that’s the philosophy of Bouche on Bridge. A focus on produce, core ingredients, and exceptional cooking without overt complications round out the package. Head chef Harry Stockdale-Powell’s ostensibly got the chops for it too – having worked at both Marque and Rockpool. Looks like it’s time to head back to Bridge St for something that isn’t Eleven Bridge and see what “no fuss fine dining” is all about.

Date Last Visited: 23/11/2016 (1st visit 29/10/2016)
Address: 6 Bridge St, Sydney NSW 2000
Go-to Dish: eschallot tarte tartin (if you like onions a lot)

Price Guide (approx): $80-$100pp plus drinks

(more…)

korean-cultural-showcase-alcohol-cover

Korean Banquet Showcase – Introduction to Korean Alcohol

The Korean Cultural Centre‘s mission is, in their own words: to enlighten and entertain through quality contemporary and traditional cultural content, in order to strengthen the emotional bond between Australia and Korea. Every year the Office hosts a banquet showcase, and the theme for this year’s showcase was Korean alcohol – what better way to experience Korean culture than via its world-famous brews? I’ll drink to that – wihayeo (위하여 – cheers!).

Date of event: 18/11/2016 (more…)

Restaurant Automata | Chippendale

Last year, a meal at Automata counted as one of my favourite restaurant experiences. That it gained two chef’s hats in the 2016 Good Food Guide Awards, along with ex-Momofuku’s Clayton Wells lauded as Time Out’s chef of the year was, to my mind, no brainer. As was usually the case, I felt that it had been far too long in between visits, and so made a return visit almost exactly one year down the track. However, it was with a deep melancholy when, on that second visit, I discovered that while fragments of the experience were the same, I was not eating at Automata.

It’s almost as if it’s become something else entirely.

Date Last Visited: 24/09/2016 23/09/2015
Address: 5 Kensington St,Chippendale, Sydney, NSW
Highlight Dish(es): steamed hapuka, roasted quail

(more…)

berowra-waters-inn-cover

Berowra Waters Inn | Sydney North

Hat trick (n, sporting context): success achieved three times in the same game. In the cutthroat sport of restauranteering, three rounds of excellent results over multiple years of visits is something rarely achieved. But that’s exactly what Berowra Waters Inn has accomplished under Brian Geraghty in his stewardship of this remote restaurant. Sydney’s hidden gem remains as polished as ever.


Date
Last Visited: 22/10/2016 7/12/2014
Address: Public Wharves Berowra Waters, NSW
Price Guide: $165 plus drinks

For this latest visit, I was invited to Berowra Waters Inn by Victoria Zwierzynski (partner to head chef Brian Geraghty) herself, so The Usual Disclaimer applies. Having said that, as my third visit here, there’s really no denying my near-unconditional affection for Berowra Waters Inn.

The Inn is about 50km from the Sydney CBD, so convenience isn’t exactly going to be on the “pros” column. However, remoteness is very much the allure of the restaurant. It starts with the private ferry, which takes around 2-3 minutes and deposits you at the beautiful Glenn Murcutt-designed limestone building that dates back over 85 years. You can also get here by seaplane, but given that it’s 2-3x the price of your $165pp meal here, you may want to save that one for the most special of occasions for that most special someone.

(more…)

LuMi Bar & Dining | Pyrmont, Sydney

When one is on the everlasting quest for great food, one goes to great lengths to consummate the experience that bestows on us food euphoria on a higher plane. But in doing so, one may sometimes forget that there is excellence everywhere around us. LuMi Bar & Dining is, quite simply, one of the worst-kept secrets in Sydney. In the two years since it opened this Japanese-Italian lightbox, perched at the tip of Pyrmont harbour, raked in awards so fast the yachts & speedboats in the habour seemed positively slothful.

You don’t even have to click into this post to infer that I’m going to wax lyrical about the place – if it’s between reading this piece and making a booking right now, I think you know where my recommendation lies. But for those with a bit more curious? Read on to find out why I think this may just be one of my favourite Sydney restaurants in 2016.

Date Last Visited: 17/09/2016  22/03/15
Address: Wharf 10, 56 Pirrama Rd Pyrmont, NSW 2009
Go-to dish: parmesan chawanmushi
Price Guide (approx): $115 for 8-courses

(more…)

Eleven Bridge Cover

Neil Perry’s Eleven Bridge | Sydney CBD

Stalwart (n) – a loyal, reliable, and hard-working supporter/participant in an organization or team. If there was ever a shoehorn restaurant fitting this definition in Sydney’s dynamic fine dining landscape, it would absolutely, unequivocally, be Neil Perry’s Rockpool. Established in 1989, it has the incredible honour of being the longest-running fine dining restaurant in Sydney. As far as the high-end goes, Rockpool is immutable.

But now, times are a changing – Rockpool closes its figurative doors, re-opening under its new mantle Eleven Bridge. The biggest question then – same same, or different?

Date Last Visited: 26/08/2016
Address: 11 Bridge Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Go-to Dish: Whole partridge steamed in bread w/glazed turnip
Price Guide (approx): $40 entrees, $50-$70 mains, $25 dessert

(more…)